Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Future is Now (Step 2)

Chances are pretty good you're reading Step 2 without doing Step 1 either because A) you're new to this blog B) you've made yet another excuse not to face the music -- or in my analogy, the trash -- or C) because you really don't have any problems and are here for pure entertainment (and denial really is just a river in Egypt.)

In any case, here's a quick Step 1 recap: Write down an overwhelming issue for you plus a list of your own inactions/actions (including thoughts, feelings, words) which got you to this point.

Even if it seems like a mentally daunting task, I promise you that it takes less time than watching an episode of Survivor; maybe even less time than reading all those status updates on Facebook. You've got to face it sooner or later. Come on - the future is now my friend!

If it makes you feel any better, most likely whatever you're going through right now, I've also been through on some level. Marital problems, health problems, 60+ pounds overweight, verge of bankruptcy, verge of a nervous breakdown, 10 years to get one MBA. Been there, done that. Trust me, you're in a "no judgment zone" here. If I can do it, you can do it.

So go ahead... do Step 1 now. I'll be here when you get back.


Step 2: Reframe it.

My inner strategy guru really wants to launch into a cool Pareto Chart exercise right now. I'm a total freak -I know! We can skip the fancy graphs for now but I reserve the right to pull out my Six Sigma handbook at some point in the future.

More simply, just look at your list and identify the common threads or themes. As you do your own mental dumpster diving, are there trashy bits which seem to come up over and over again? Are there a few consistent larger issues to which you can attribute the majority of your behaviors?

Looking at my own list from when I was in my most unhealthy physical state: I had a lot of "fat" and "tired" thoughts, feelings and conversations. I also had consistent themes of mindless and careless eating.

What stands out to you about your list?

Based on what you see, the next thing you are going to do is write a new statement about this particular area of your life. In theory, this should be counter to the themes and behaviors you noted.

Become the author of your own life. Welcome to the beginning of your very own "happily ever after."

Create an affirmation for your ultimate positive outcome.

Write it down. You can use the space underneath the original "problem" statement at the top of the page. After you complete your affirmation statement, you can actually cross out the problem statement. It no longer has control over you. It is no longer overwhelming. You have a new state of being which is taking it's place. YAY! (Happy dance optional but I highly recommend.)

Your affirmation for change should provide a positive statement as if your ideal situation is happening right now. Additionally, it should be something which drives you to make choices to support that ideal situation.

For example, here is mine: "I love and respect my beautiful, healthy body -- inside and out."

I can tell you first hand that it's pretty hard to say those words whilst stuffing the last five bites of your kid's Velveeta Shells-n-Cheese into your gullet.

Repeat your positive affirmation over and over. Feel it. Believe it!

Next, we'll outline the action plan. We now understand the past actions/inactions which clearly were not helpful. We've also positively identified and accepted our new state of being.

Based on this simple bit of preparation, the specific actions for change won't be nearly as overwhelming. In the past, we thought we just had to jump into the pile of trash and hope we could dig fast enough not to suffocate. No wonder, right!?

But now you have a plan and a bulldozer and you are AWESOME!

Next post: The final step
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